Mr. Chair, I am proud and humbled to speak here today for the first time as the new Councillor representing the Pullenvale Ward, under the banner of the Queensland Liberal National Party.
This and Cr. Hutton’s maiden speech next week are being delivered in unique circumstances via videoconference which might be a first in Australian political history. But we live in unique times.
Let me start by thanking the majority of residents in my Ward who put their trust in me to represent them in City Hall for the next four years.
It is an unbelievable honour to serve, and my pledge to everyone, irrespective of who they voted for, is to work hard and tirelessly in their interests, and not let them down.
I am also proud to be a member of “Team Schrinner” and I congratulate the Lord Mayor on what he achieved on 28th March. To win the Lord Mayoralty vote the way he did is one thing, but to retain all 19 Wards is another.
Your message that “experience matters in such times” clearly resonated with the electorate but winning another term after 16 years of continuous LNP administration in City Hall is a monumental achievement, and something of which you can be very proud.
I come into the role of an elected public official at the most challenging time imaginable.
Who would have thought at the start of my journey in late January that the world would look like it does at the moment?
As the Lord Mayor reminded us after the election, we all needed to get back to work as quickly as possible and do whatever we could in our communities to assist in Brisbane’s recovery efforts.
And that’s what I’ve been doing, working with my fellow Federal and State representatives, local community groups and leaders to identify those at most risk who need help.
Mr Chair, my life and professional experience has prepared me well for the challenges that await.
I come from a simple background, being born and educated in Kingaroy and living on a farm for a number of years. My working career began in country and regional newspapers and television before moving to Brisbane to pursue my dream of becoming a State Government Ministerial Press Secretary.
After eight years in that role, I evolved into a communications and marketing executive in the corporate world which I did up until seeking pre-selection for this Ward.
In 1991, my wife Cia and I built our home at Chapel Hill, raised our family and still live there today. We part-owned and managed a small business at Kenmore for about five years and have been active in local School and community groups, building many friendships that will last a lifetime.
I am proud to be a member of the Kenmore Rotary Club and intend remaining so and helping out with the outstanding work they do whenever I can.
I’m also proud to be a Life Member of the Kenmore Bears Junior AFL Club, despite never having kicked an AFL ball in my life. Together with a number of other local parents, we helped save what was a battling Club and I look today with pride seeing how the current group of volunteer parents have taken it to another level.
During my campaign, I engaged with a number of local community groups including the Kenmore Bears, to hear about their issues and expectations. Whether it was the ladies aquatic group at the Bellbowrie Pool or the locals concerned about Council’s plans for the Merri Merri dog off-leash park, it was important to learn about what mattered to them.
I promised then and will honour my undertaking to be available, transparent, consultative and accountable as their local representative. And I won’t advocate a position to Council until I’m certain about what my constituents think first.
It was pretty obvious early into my campaign what the main issues were. In no particular order:
- The proposed Bellbowrie Green Bridge
- Traffic congestion on Moggill Road
- Improved public transport services, and
- The need for a local community centre
Given that three of those have a common theme, I was excited to be appointed to Council’s Public and Active Transport Committee. I look forward to working with my colleague, Cr. Murphy as its Chair to determine the strategy for how we can take these services to another level, not only in my Ward but for our great city.
Mr. Chair, in the remaining time available, I would like to acknowledge those who helped me get to where I am today.
As I indicated earlier, I am proud to have been given the opportunity to represent my community under the banner of the Liberal National Party.
I was born into a strong conservative family which has a proud history of serving the community, country and Party in its various forms during the past 70 years.
My grandfather, Sir Charles Adermann was a long-serving Minister in the Menzies Government and was my first political hero and mentor. My uncle Evan also had the honour of serving as a Minister in the Fraser Government.
I was fortunate to have lived with my grandfather during my senior high school years and when I started work as a cadet journalist at the local newspaper.
I always thought my life was pretty normal, but when I think back to those days, what was normal about answering the phone every night to find the Premier on the other end of the line, or getting home from school and finding the soon to be Deputy Prime Minister Doug Anthony sitting at the kitchen table?
His values aligned very closely with those of the LNP and which I strive to live by every day, and I’ll never forget the role he played during my formative years.
I’ve been fortunate during the past 28 years to have worked for a number of blue-chip companies, including Telstra, Foxtel, the International Management Group and most recently, ASM Global, previously known as AEG Ogden.
ASM Global is the leading venue management company in the world with its south-east Asia operations headquartered here in Brisbane.
In this city alone, ASM Global manages Suncorp Stadium, the Brisbane Entertainment Centre and the Brisbane Convention and Exhibition Centre, and is the proponent behind the exciting Brisbane Live proposal which will be a key part of the revitalisation of the entertainment hub in the CBD.
The past 17.5 years serving as both the ASM Global Communications Manager and Director of Communications and Marketing at Suncorp Stadium were among the most enjoyable and rewarding of my career.
The Chairman and CEO, Harvey Lister who would be known to many of you is a true visionary and a wonderful asset to this city, and his business partner of 40 years, Rod Pilbeam, both gave their blessing to me pursuing this role.
I will be forever grateful for the opportunity they gave me to work in such a dynamic and exciting industry, albeit one that’s doing it tough right now, not being able to host events of any sort.
I particularly enjoyed being part of a team charged with securing new event content for our venues, hence my interest and passion in what event tourism can bring to Brisbane.
Event tourism is worth about $800 million to the State economy. It’s a highly competitive industry, and our challenge is to become a little more creative in how we secure major events without breaking the bank to do it, and I hope to be able to contribute in that area going forward.
To those who helped me get elected.
To my campaign manager and confidante, Paul McMonagle who rode every high and low of the emotional rollercoaster with me, a huge thank you.
To my campaign team, Leigh Warren, Julian Simmonds, Dr. Christian Rowan, Madeline Simmonds, Alyson Richards and Margaret de Wit OAM.
The support, encouragement and strategic advice from Julian and Christian from day one was invaluable. Their efforts won’t be forgotten and I look forward to working closely with them to achieve great outcomes for our local communities.
To Margaret who was an outstanding advocate for our community during her 19 years as the Pullenvale Ward Councillor. Her high profile support during the campaign and her offer to mentor me as I settle into the chair she once occupied, is much appreciated.
To my colleagues, particularly Councillors Mackay and Murphy for their regular calls, offers of assistance, pep talks and advice. Thank you.
To the 100 plus volunteers who donated, roadsided, letterbox dropped, stood on pre-poll and at public events with me, thank you.
We all know elections aren’t won by individuals, it’s a team effort and I had one almighty team in my corner.
And finally to my immediate family – my mother Jeanette and sister Merryl in Toowoomba, brother Steve in Hobart, and my wife Cia and sons Andrew and Nick who are witnessing this today and who keep me grounded and humble.
Like my campaign manager, Cia rode every emotion of the three month campaign but never flinched.
She could have taken the easy option and said no to me seeking preselection. But she knew what this opportunity meant to me, and I know she will be standing alongside me providing invaluable support in the challenging times that lie ahead.
Mr Chair and fellow Councillors, thank you for your indulgence.
I look forward to serving with each and every one of you for the betterment of this wonderful city that we all call home.